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The Years of the Berlin Wall: From My Eyes Essay Sample

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The Years of the Berlin Wall: From My Eyes Essay Sample

August 13, 1961. A day of misery, ordeal and dashed hopes. I had woken to the sound of an obstreperous shriek and what seemed like a case of mass hysteria. Within minutes I became conscious of the fact I was alone in the bedraggled shack we liked to call home. I wandered around in my solitude. Promptly I advanced to the outside pavement where infinite numbers of people were gathered. To the left of me I noticed my mother. Seated on the curb of the cobbled street, she seemed disheartened, as did many others. Mother looked straight ahead, pale faced with tribulation evident in her expression. Suddenly there was an aura of grey around her. It was a mist that wouldn’t rise. I was oblivious to what had happened. A hurricane of despondency had torn through Berlin. Trash cans clattered to the ground and litter swirled up and down the deserted sidewalk. I muttered the words, “Where’s daddy?” To which a thin shrilled voice like the cry of an expiring mouse replied, “Daddy isn’t coming home.” Days went by and the weather was an accurate reflection of our low spiritedness. Lightening ripped through the sky, and tears fell so fast from the faces of my loved ones; it was hard to distinguish them from the heavy rain.

Relatives of mine would visit and show remorse towards my mother. She looked like death and she didn’t care. It was a state of depression she couldn’t see herself through. To those around me my feelings seemed frivolous and so I would sit by the window and observe the birds that flew way above. Slowly I shut my eyes and I could see him. He had come back into my life, but only for a second, until I opened my eyes and saw it was all just a lie. I go to sleep and I know he will be there, but I don’t want to wake up because he will disappear again. All I wanted was for someone to tell me that he was ok and I had nothing to worry about. Nobody ever did. I would saunter for 3 miles and find a little spot on the apex of the hill, where I would overlook the wall that separated me from my father, and reminisce. I would contemplate whether or not I should venture the Great Wall, but I knew I would never see my father again. This thought was eating me inside; the sense of reality had been established. This wasn’t a dream.

On my way home from school I would walk through the desolate streets not disturbed by idle bikers or speeding cars. One particular street was narrow and weaved in between the large trees. The slight breeze caused the red and orange leaves to lazy skip along the quiet road hardly making a sound. Cracks covered some of the more worn looking areas making it look much older than it was and loose pebbles hung onto the edge as if holding on for dear life. The breeze would later pick up, making the tall grass and flowers that aligned the road move as if waving to some invisible viewer. I noticed the vast number of businesses that had been forced to close due to lack of custom. Some individuals were left homeless, including several elderly people who were sprawled on street corners. Disbelief written all over their consternate faces. One woman lodged in my memory. She reached out her gnarled hands as if asking for some place to stay, but I couldn’t help her. I walked away. I turned my back to this woman.

The feeling of guilt was too overwhelming. If only the people in the West knew of our situation. If only they knew of the pain and suffering experienced because of this iconic structure. The Wall had brought nothing but heartache and dismay. Despite my mother’s sadness and my feelings of isolation, my brother was probably the worst affected. His usual calm and pleasant demeanour swiftly changed into something much more malignant. He would storm the streets looking to take his frustration out on anyone who crossed his path. His nostrils flaring, eyes flashing and closing into slits, his mouth quivering and drooling. Slurring words that were unintelligible came spewing out and the consumed fury had been released. His hands were constantly closed into fists. I felt as though I had lost my brother as well as my father. The brother I knew was not like this. Darkness had taken over him.

-28 years later- I was travelling home on the U-bahn, which was unusually busy considering the hours of day. A multitude of people were shrieking, “Freedom, freedom!” I was left somewhat bewildered by these actions and continued on my journey home. Hordes of people rushed past me. I was nothing but a drop in the ocean. It was challenging to comprehend what was going on, as the rambunctious howls and constant bawling made it extremely difficult. An older gentleman was settled parallel to the opening of a small alleyway. It was impossible to reach him. I had to push, shove and literally fight a path through the jostling crowds. I crouched down next to him and asked what the commotion was based on. At that point I was made aware of what had happened. The Great Wall had been conquered. Was this even possible? This demon construction was as solid as the ground we stand on. Frozen to the spot, his words had cut my very soul. There was such satisfaction, as when a coin, tested, rings true gold. These people were fleeing to the West in fear it may quickly be re-constructed. There was no time. I must alert my mother.

Once I arrived home I found my mother sat on the same curb as she was all those years ago. A teardrop glistened in the corner of her eye, but unlike the day back in 1961, these were tears of joy. To me, this moment seemed as great as the first day of creation. I looked up to the cloudless sky. The air was crisp and the sun shone triumphantly, as the soft rays of golden yellow oozed across the turquoise sky. I reached out to my mother and she took my hand. Slowly but surely she stood up with a pleasing smile reaching from one said of her face to the other. I could taste the gratification in the air. Hand in hand we started walking towards what we had always referred to as ‘The Land of Independence’. I felt as though I was leaving all the poverty, depression and hardship behind. This would be the first day of the rest of my life.

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